The Toronto Blue Jays just issued a press release stating that the team has signed Scott Podsednik to a Minor League contract.

My immediate reaction is one of mild surprise considering that Podsednik previously turned down the $2 million mutual option that the Dodgers exercised earlier this offseason.

Assuming he makes the team, you would think that Podsednik would likely act as a platoon partner for Juan Rivera (assuming he’s still on the team) and add some speed off the bench.  His defense has declined sharply over the past five years and he hasn’t been a regular center fielder since 2004 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

But looking at the splits, Podsednik’s career .736 OPS versus right handed pitching is actually worse than Rivera’s .769 OPS, and only compares favourably to Corey Patterson’s .724 OPS.  However, further examining the past few seasons, Podsednik’s possible value to this team becomes a bit more clear.

Scott Podsednik had an OPS vs. RHP of .780 in 2009, and .754 in 2010.  It’s hardly setting the world on fire, but it’s better than Rivera’s .730 in 2009 and .707 last year.  In fact, Rivera hasn’t had an OPS vs RHP above his career average since 2006.

If you’re going to look at recent numbers, than you have to bring Patterson back into the conversation, who also offers better defense than Podsednik, and could probably even fill in for Rajai Davis in center field in an emergency.

Last season:

253 PA, 6.7 BB%, 22.9 K%, .341 OBP, .449 SLG, .159 ISO, .344 wOBA.

You should probably note Patterson’s .349 BABIP against RHP last season when you look at those numbers as well.

As we’ve discussed before, another interesting fourth outfielder option is Darin Mastroianni who can cover a lot of ground in center field, and act as a back up second baseman, but the right handed hitter has never played above Double A, where, over the last two seasons, he’s gotten on base more than 38% of the time.

Mastroianni is also a right handed hitter, but has been doing alright against right handed pitching.  Last season, again at Double A, the 25 year old had an OBP of .381 in 454 plate appearances against righties.

So, what does that mean for Podsednik?  Well, whatever.  He’ll be coming to Toronto on a Minor League contract so as my classy uncle would say, “It’s no sweat off our sack.”

And if for nothing else, he’s got a hot wife.

Comments (16)

  1. I just realized that without Vernon Wells, our outfield defense is a little meh.

  2. What was it before? Blaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghh?

  3. I don’t really know what to expect from Davis in center. Defensive metrics rank him really well in 2009 but terrible in 2010, with such a wide variance that it makes you question the metrics more than think there was a strange regression there.

  4. Who would have guessed the Yunel Escobar would be the most boring Blue Jays player going into Spring Training?

    The outfield is in flux, Bautista’s contract, Hill’s atempt at a bounce-back, Lind playing 1st, Arencibia proving he belongs, rotation spots open, and the bullpen spots are going to be a battle.

    One of the few years where the daily updates from Spring Training will be well worth debating.

  5. I’d rather see if the Jays had someone already in the system who could take Podsednik’s spot. In my opinion he is one of the most overrated players around. In 2007 and 2008 he barely kept his job in the majors?

  6. There’s an easy way to say what you just posted. Podsednik isn’t very good and doesn’t deserve a full-time starting role on any team in baseball.

    Unfortunately, if Rivera gets dealt as I expect might happen, we may be stuck with him in LF.

  7. Well, when you’re reduced to comparing him to Corey Patterson, that should really be all it takes.

  8. It sounds like he’ll be the everyday pinch runner and can occasionally spell the outfield starters. I don’t see any need to use any words like “platoon” and have him in the starting lineup more than twice in a month.

    I don’t see this as any sort of prelude to a Rivera move. The fact is, the Blue Jays need Rivera or they’re going to be starting someone who should probably be a fifth outfielder.

  9. He really got some bad advice declining that deal from the Dodgers, eh?

    Teams aren’t exactly in need of aging LFs that can’t hit or field.

  10. @OtherScott

    I don’t think the Jays would have much of a problem starting a cheap 4th/5th OF type. Contending isn’t exactly in the cards this year. You’d think Corey Patterson would be the better option there, though, with his ability to actually play in center.

  11. Just talking on Twitter, I think Patterson, Podsednik, McCoy and Mastroianni (if the Jays somehow think it’s worth having him up here instead of getting ABs in the Minors) are competing for two bench / occasional platoon spots.

  12. Fullmer, I think they have to give themselves a chance though. They aren’t likely to be contending, but they aren’t completely out of the picture either.

    How would they benfit by throwing Rivera away? He’s not blocking any prospects, they aren’t likely to get anything remotely useful in return for him, and they have nothing but “replacement players” behind him. It’s not like they need to cut payroll off. Rivera has more use to the Blue Jays than probably any other team at this point. I don’t see why a trade is necessary in the slightest.

  13. They would benefit by not having to spend $5M on Rivera, which ideally would be used elsewhere. Same principle as the Wells salary dump, just on a much smaller scale.

  14. Exactly. He’s an unnecessary, overpriced piece on this team. Fine as a fourth outfielder on a competitive squad that can afford it. Wouldn’t surprise me if Jays sent some cash in any deal involving him.

  15. Wouldn’t suprise me if they just released him (Rivera) if they couldn’t get an asset for him. A salary dump is a salary dump.

  16. Oh, and Parkes, it’s easy to let the Zoey D stuff slide, but the “hot wife” link is one-degree of separation from Bleacher Report, no?

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